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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: James Shedlock, AMLS (Northwestern University)
Description: This volume is the first of a series, Current Practice in Health Sciences Librarianship, by the Medical Library Association and reviews reference and information services as they are currently practiced including coverage of expected services and issues, microcomputer use, special services, and the role of information technologies; missing topics on education and document delivery will appear as separate volumes.
Purpose: The book emphasizes documenting current practice, state-of-the-art, innovations, and trends in health sciences libraries.
Audience: The volume's readers will likely be students, both those taking courses in health sciences librarianship and those unable to do so; recent graduates new to the field; and librarians outside the field but interested in what they could learn from medical reference librarians. Senior librarians may want to use the book as a guide in developing local staff development programs such as staff seminars, journal clubs, or individual development sessions.
Features: Valuable features include heavily cited chapters such as the nearly 500 references on database searching, and seven appendixes providing reference position descriptions, outlines of policies and manuals, and training plans.
Assessment: The author and contributors are leaders in the profession and experts in their specialty of medical reference service. The writing and editing quality is very good; the style is objective and factual; and rarely is an expression or phrase vague or confusing. Authors provide a good balance between historical perspective and current practice. Although the volume is well organized, perhaps a sectional numbering scheme or contents pages for each chapter should be considered in the future because the very many headings and subheadings tend to be confusing. Another minor criticism is the lack of a bibliography that pulls together the best of the chapters' reference lists. This volume heralds the promise of a new standard text on medical librarianship and represents an important contribution to the profession.